Apple AirPods or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the mob

Apple tends to get a lot of press, both positive and negative, surrounding any new products. The biggest headlines tend to be polarizing, between people who are fanatical and unfaltering, to people who have nothing but negative reactions. If you choose sides, which mob are you with?

For years I’ve found it easy to criticize Apple like so many others. “No optical drive? No one will buy that!” or “iPad? More like an oversized iPod Touch!” I’ve heard it all, and even participated at points in the past. Sometimes these criticisms may be warranted, other times they are just the easy target because it’s what everyone is talking about.

There is something to be said about Apple’s attention to detail and quality, however. When smart watches were starting to ramp up, we got a taste with things like the Pebble, we saw a variety of cool and unusual offerings for Android, but then Apple announced the Apple Watch. First off, let’s just exclude anyone who just aren’t “watch people” from our list. There are plenty of criticisms across all smart watches, and the Apple Watch is far from excluded in any of these. It was very late to the game, and for the first two OSes, it was barely usable for certain functions. But if you stuck with Apple on this adventure, watchOS 3 was released and brought with it a breath of fresh air. While apps still were often slow, they were many times faster than they had been. Sure, the Apple Watch wasn’t great at first, but has since found its place. At this point, you’d be hard pressed to find another smart watch that competes in all of the categories it delivers on. Sure, it doesn’t have a week of battery life, but it lasts a day which is plenty.

I’ve often had my doubts of Apple products at announcement, fallen victim to criticisms I’ve read around the internet and the likes. The Watch was an exciting prospect, but so full of questions like which size to get (the bigger one had a bigger battery, would that matter?) or whether the sport model will scuff easily without a sapphire screen. Ultimately I made my decision, 42mm space grey sport. As it turned out, this was a great decision, the screen never gave me problems nor would the 38mm battery have given me grief I’m sure (but the moment I saw it I knew I loved the bigger screen).

I’m not here to preach that Apple is some sort of savior we should all worship or anything of the sort. To each their own, if you like Apple, like them, if you don’t, hopefully it’s not just for the sake of disliking them like some sort of trend. I have very consistently enjoyed the products they’ve been putting out for years, and AirPods can find their home on that list as well.

AirPods have been all I can think of since they were announced, and the months of silence on a release date was killing me. Then Apple announced they were to be delayed further, striking fear into many with questions like “is it a manufacturing problem?” or “is there something technical they had to go back and change?” None of this made sense, as the early reviews were super promising. Without a tangible product to test, the questions began to pile up as usual. “Will they fit in my ears or fall out?” “Will I be ok using Siri to interact instead of a remote?” Quietly one morning, they suddenly went on sale with great demand. A few review sites came out with updates and answered a few questions, but there’s just no knowing until you get your hands on something like this.

Rather than spending all of that time wondering and worrying, I should have just known that the “mob” of folks giving rave reviews would probably be an accurate portrayal of my experience. Sure enough, they fit perfectly without remotely falling out, they sound better than expected (seriously, no one should expect something this size to sound like over-ear headphones or something of the sort, the tech just isn’t there yet) and work exactly as advertised. I’ve hated the use of the word “magical”, but when you’ve come from a broad line of awful Bluetooth headphones, it really does feel that way by comparison.

To step away from all of the Apple love for a second, my real point here is that sometimes it helps to be a little less cynical about something, especially when it hasn’t been released yet. If you let life give you “magic” and enjoyment, it’s easier than fighting the whole way down. Whether your “mob” is Apple, Android, or something even unrelated to technology, have some “faith” in whatever it is you enjoy and give it the benefit of the doubt. You might be surprised how much easier it makes things :)


Aaron Dippner

Software engineer who loves to nerd out about technology, home automation, gadgets and everything else.

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